“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
Since the pandemic began, the roads we’ve travelled over the last couple of months have been quite bumpy. Then, Memorial Day weekend brought a much-needed break on our road trip to nowhere. Communities slowly started to lift restrictions by allowing some local businesses to re-open. People were excited to dine alfresco for the first time in weeks at their neighborhood bars and restaurants. People were relieved to get fresh haircuts. And, people were happy to run or walk along the beach again. It was a relaxing weekend that brought back a taste of freedom for many.
Then, without warning, the road took a sharp left turn on Memorial Day. This Memorial Day was the most memorable one yet. Not because of town parades. Not because of firework shows. And, not because of any patriotic celebrations whatsoever.
Instead, what made this year’s Memorial Day unique was the death of a man named George Floyd. On this day, Floyd lost his life on a street in Minneapolis while pinned to the pavement by three police officers. After almost nine minutes with an officer’s knee pressed to the back of his neck, Floyd took his last breaths. Meanwhile, a fourth cop was standing by, keeping a group of concerned citizens from interfering. But, they were able to capture those last moment's of Floyd's life on video with their cell phones, and it went viral.
Floyd was black. The officer was white. And, America saw red.
Since this incident, all four officers have been fired, with at least one facing homicide and manslaughter charges. Charges against the others are also anticipated.
But, that was just the beginning.
All of a sudden, talk of the coronavirus took a backseat. Floyd's death jumped behind the wheel instead. And, America's reaction has been driving media coverage ever since.
Over the last few days, both peaceful protests and violent riots have broken out across the country. Stores have been looted. Cars have been set on fire. Tear gas has been launched into crowds. People have been attacked and injured, and some have even died.
Whether a concerned citizen, member of law enforcement, or member of the media, people are outraged. White Americans. Black Americans. All Americans.
Now, some cities and counties have had to establish curfews in an attempt to keep their communities safer. So, here we go again, imposing restrictions. And, here we all are again, feeling suffocated.
An essential element in all of this is choice. George Floyd made choices that fateful day. Four police officers also made choices that day. And, today, you make choices in how you see, perceive, respond, and react to all of the events that surround you.
You choose your attitude and your actions. Your choices reflect your thoughts and beliefs. They also dictate your destiny.
Choices are powerful. So, choose your words carefully. Once your words leave your lips, they cannot be taken back. Choose your actions wisely. Your actions reflect your character and your moral compass. So, remember who you were yesterday, who you are today, and who you want to become tomorrow. Make sure your actions define the character you choose and the direction you want to go.
Good choices start with mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment while calmly acknowledging your surrounding environment. When you practice mindfulness, your thoughts are completely focused on the present moment and not on memories of the past or the possibilities of the future. Practicing mindfulness can help to ensure that your choices align with your goals for creating your best self and your best life.
The events surrounding George Floyd’s death undoubtedly stirred feelings within you. But, remember the choices you make in response to your feelings can also have an effect on others. Therefore, be mindful of your attitudes and actions in the days, weeks, and months ahead. As Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You are in control of your attitudes and actions. They are choices you make daily. You choose what you think and believe as well as what you do next. Therefore, how you choose to act or react to the current state of affairs in America is completely under your control. You also choose how you act and behave moving forward. The power is in your mind, your mouth, your heart, and your hands.
You have the power of choice, my Pineapple. Make choices that move you forward, lift you up, and make you a better person.
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.